What do you need to do to copyright your software?

| Apr 17, 2020 | Copyright Law

There’s been an increase in individuals studying computer science or becoming hobbyist programmers during the past few decades. Many of these individuals have left their hard work readily accessible online without taking the time to copyright their work. This has allowed others to take their program, embellish it and put it out there as if it were all their own. This is unfortunate as copyrighting software is one of the easiest and most cost-effective things that you can do.

The most applicable way to protect your computer program is to take the necessary steps to make sure that it’s covered by federal copyright law. You can accomplish this is by placing the copyright symbol on your program along with your name. This establishes your work as a fixed tangible medium.

If anyone copies, displays, adapts or distributes your program without your permission once you do this, you’d probably think that you could sue them for infringing upon your copyright. This isn’t necessarily the case though.

Federal law generally doesn’t consider you to have exclusive rights to your work until you register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. This is why you should register it soon after you publish it. If you’ve already identified someone that’s violated your copyright, then you may need to expedite the registration, so you can respond in a timely fashion to the lawsuit.

It can be quite costly if you have to file a copyright infringement case in federal court. That’s why it’s important that you carefully consider all of the damages that you’ve suffered before you file suit. This will ensure that you recover positive damages.

Some examples of damages that you may be able to recover by filing a copyright infringement case include court costs, attorney fees and statutory damages. Existing federal laws allow you to demand up to $150,000 for each copyright infringement even if you’re unable to document the damages that you suffered.

Copyrighting your software is a relatively inexpensive and easy thing to do. You may find it best to have an attorney here in Roseville guiding you through the process though if you want to make sure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent. Should you need to file suit against an infringer, then the California lawyer that you choose to represent you must have extensive experience in handling similar cases as well.